Family, Relationality and Kinship

We bring together academics from various schools and disciplines at Sussex who are researching topics broadly related to the family and personal relationships.

Who we work with

The group includes researchers from the School of Law, Politics and Sociology, the School of Global Studies, the School of Education and Social Work, the School of Business, Management and Economics, and the School of Psychology

We also work with the following research centres:

Work with us

We welcome contact from academics from any discipline who are working on related topics, including academics from Sussex, other universities and independent researchers. 

We are also interested in establishing contacts with non-academics working in areas that may be impacted by our research. This includes legal professionals, educators, social workers, relationship counsellors and mental health professionals. 

Contact us at if you are interested in working with us.


We host and take part in a range of workshops focusing on topics related to family and personal relationships. Find out more about our events below:

Framing International Surrogacy, 23 and 25 July 2016

Framing International Surrogacy will bring together people from a range of disciplines with personal and professional experience of the system of surrogacy to explore perspectives on the UK legal framework for regulating the practice.

Due to concern that calls for change have been loudest when controversial legal decisions have been made — and an awareness that the practice of surrogacy has a domestic and international dimension that may be in tension — the event aims to interview affected people.

As part of the event, we will also identify problems that practitioners and their clients experience to develop an evaluation of the effectiveness of current legal regulation in the UK.

Participants will include those working in therapy (psychology and psychiatry), clinical infertility (medicine), social work, and law (solicitors, barristers and judges).

It will also include scholars from a range of academic disciplines in which there is interest in surrogacy, such as sociology, social work, psychology, medicine, ethics, anthropology, international relations, development studies, and law.


Due to the constraints of those working outside of academia, Framing International Surrogacy will be held over two days: 23 and 25 July 2016. It is possible to attend the workshop on only one day.

Saturday 23 July 2016

This session is dedicated to reflections of the experiences of those who work in the practice of surrogacy. An individual from each of the range of professions and interest groups currently working in surrogacy will lead discussion on the perspectives that they experience that are relevant to the discussion of legal reform.

Monday 25 July 2016

As part of this session, we will reflect on the perspectives shared in Saturday’s sessions. Scholars will contribute their views on what the Saturday sessions suggest about legal reform.

We will also consider whether further research might be beneficial to any reform agenda, and if so, what further steps will be necessary to promote that research.

Contact us

Contact us at for more information or if you are interested in attending or presenting.

LGBTQ+ Families, Wellbeing and Mental Health: Future Research Agendas, 22 July 2016

LGBTQ+ Families, Wellbeing and Mental Health: Future Research Agendas will explore future research agendas promoting LGBTQ+ wellbeing, focusing on the role of family, mental health and the intersection of these two areas.

The event is hosted by the Transforming Gender and Sexuality Research Group at the University of Brighton in partnership with the Family, Relationality and Kinship Research Group, 

Bringing together academics from a range of disciplines (including, but not limited to, psychology, law, social work, sociology, anthropology and humanities) as well as community partners working with LGBTQ+ individuals, the workshop aims to discuss current research.

It also aims to highlight potential future research collaboration in this area, with a particular interest in exploring the following questions:

  1. How important are notions of friendship, family and close relationships in terms of LGBTQ+ individuals’ sense of emotional and mental wellbeing?
  2. What support networks are available to LGBTQ+ individuals in distress and how are these being used to promote mental health and wellbeing?
  3. In what ways do legal frameworks support or hinder the recognition of LGBTQ+ families and support networks?
  4. What role do medical and mental health professionals, social workers, legal professionals and third sector organisations play in promoting LGBTQ+ wellbeing and mental health?


Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Daniel Monk, Reader in Law, University of Birkbeck
  • Professor Jacqui Gabb, Professor of Sociology and Intimacy, The Open University
  • Dr Elizabeth McDermott, Senior Lecturer in Health Research, University of Lancaster
  • Dr Katherine Johnson, Assistant Head of Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Brighton.

Book a place

Book a place at the event (Eventbrite)

You can contact us at for more information or if you are interested in presenting.

There are a limited number of places for this event.